*Standing up for personal values and principles you feel define who you are.
In Kentucky, it’s basketball. Texas, football. For Iowa, it’s wrestling. Iowa constantly turns out some of the best wrestlers in the country. It was high school tournament time in Iowa. Winning a state championship here is a dual achievement. First, becoming state champion. Second, becoming state champion in Iowa. This was the tournament Joel Northrup worked so hard to get to. His record was 35 and 4. Not bad for someone who was only a sophomore. In fact, Joel was a favorite to win the 112 pound class. That is until he found out that in his first match, the very first match of the tournament, he would have to wrestle Casey Herkleman.
When he heard that Casey would be his first match, a chill went through his body as he hung his head in disappointment. Even though Casey Herkleman had a record of only 20 and 13, he knew that this match would be tougher than any of the matches she had before. Joel thought much about whether he wanted to wrestle Casey. This was a decision he would talk over with his father. Should he forfeit the match and give up the chance to be state champion? Or should he go against his instincts and wrestle this person.
After much thought, Joel decided, Joel, not his father, not his friends, Joel decided that it went against everything he believed in to go through with the match. To him, his values and beliefs were more important than an Iowa championship. So that day Joel Northrup made a decision that would be heard around the world. He decided to forfeit the match and any chance of winning a state championship. After all that work; all those dreams, all that excitement and anticipation, imagine the let down. Later, he gave the following statement: “As a matter of conscience and my faith I do not believe that it is appropriate for a boy to engage a girl in this manner.”
That’s right, the opponent Joel was to wrestle, Casey Herkleman, was a girl. And according to his beliefs and personal integrity, he felt it inappropriate to have a match with a girl. Joel Northrup understood that a championship last only a year and the winner is soon forgotten. Personal Integrity, however, clearly defines what kind of person he is and will serve him well for the rest of his life. Agree or disagree, you have to admit, this is extraordinary integrity by an extraordinary young man. Casey Herkleman, you might ask, was eliminated in the first round.
Extraordinary feats but not so extraordinary characteristics. For the same characteristics you saw in these people could very well be some of the same characteristics you posses yourself. By just being yourself, you give yourself a chance to let those characteristics that define who you are have a chance to work. And simply put, The Hero of Your own Life, could very well become the hero of somebody else’s.
To view the entire news report and video click on: Joel Northrup